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Sony VX2100 / PD170 / PDX10 Companion
Topics also include Sony's TRV950, VX2000, PD150 & DSR250 family.


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Old March 27th, 2005, 09:14 AM   #1
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PD170 vs DVX100a

I'm trying to decide between these two cameras. What led you to your decision? The prices are about the same.
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Old March 27th, 2005, 10:45 AM   #2
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Both cameras will give you excellent footage, of that there can be no doubt, so whatever's said here will be simply people choosing through personal preference and prejudice.

I already had a lot of NP-F batteries from my two TRV900s, so it made sense to switch to a VX2000. I also liked the VX's reputation in the gloom, the 12x zoom, and the build quality. Mind you, I was looking at the DVX100 as competition, and the A model has sorted out a lot of the silly mistakes in the original.

But you're talking PD170 which is a bit dearer than the 100A, yet comes with a smaller side-screen and no zoom markings on the manual ring as well as less user settings to play with. The 170 will need a wide-angle adapter (included), but the DVX will need both a wide and a tele if it's to compete with the Sony on focal lengths.

tom.
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Old March 29th, 2005, 11:33 AM   #3
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I Own a 170

I own an XL1s and a 170. I purchased the 170 for a number of reasons.

1) I heard image quality was fabulous. I checked it out for myself and yes, it's true.

2) Great in low light. Yes, true again.

3) B & W viewfinder, easier to focus. Yes again.

4) Lightweight and perfect for run and gun. OH YES! You betcha. I tried using the XL1s for weddings and it was too unwieldly. The PD 170 is perfect for event videogrpahy.

Now here's the catch: The 170 does not deinterlace like the DVX but you can, of course, deinterlace 170 footage in post and according to a recent DVCAM article (published by Sony) deinterlacing DVCAM footage fooled the pros into thinking they were watching 16 mm film.

Go and rent yourself The SHIELD Season 3 DVD and watch the one hour and nineteen minute documentary "Breaking Episode 315." The documentary was shot with Panasonic DVX 100s (probably in progressive mode) and I thought I was watching a documentary shot on film. The DVX's progressive footage looked better than the show's regular footage which, by the way, is shot on 16mm film. Funny, huh? The DVX documentary footage looked better than the show's footage.

I hope I didn't confuse you more. You need to question what look you're going for.
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Old March 30th, 2005, 07:13 AM   #4
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Thanks, Hugh. Very interesting.
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Old April 3rd, 2005, 12:18 PM   #5
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hmm..
this kinda post stirs up alot of debate.. lol

I wouldnt call the DVX a deinterlacing camera.. moreso a true progressive scan camera

there are many features the DVX has that the PD and even the Z1 dont have.. and moreso of an importance (to me anyway) than low light and zoom range, would have to be the actual configuration of colour levels and image control within the camera.

The scene settings within the DVX just cannot be faulted, even the older model gives me much more control over the PD ever could. SOme people prefer to set certain colour phases in post, but id rather save the time and have all my footage uniform, then if i need to tweak i do it later.

The DVX stabiliser IS crap.. but once u learn how to use it, it can work well. the zoom.. sometimes i just wsh it jsut had that lil more reach.. and in low light.. well it depends on your needs and opinions of what is acceptable i guess.. so i wont comment on that. I prefer the low light performance of the DVX, as even though it may not reach as low as the PD, at least it wont wash out the colours like the PD does.

The PD in my opinion is a much nicer cam for weddings than the XL. People go the XL simply for the look with no inclination to ataching any other lense to it.. on top of that, its slider control within its "scene" files are very lame.. sorry bu ive used it numerous times and i really do hate the XL with a passion.. no seriously, for weddings and run and gun work, it may work for some people, but to me, i think its a waste of space and energy in carryin the bloody thing around when i can get a handheld handycam which gives me better results.. .
And now with the JVC HDV unit coming out, it will be made redundant simply for the fact that its market penetration (within the wedding industry at least) was for its look, not its results. The HDV JVC unit will allow yo uto mount a 1/2 mount Fujinon Lens which in my opinions is prolly some of the best glass on the market, on top of that, u can get a mount to fit a 1/3 bayonet mount to it.. so the choices wil be virtually endless.. at teh moment u can get an EF adapter for the XL.. but ur still restricted to canon glass..

hey hugh.. i was jsut giggling at ur comment about the XL for run and gun.. I totally agree..

believe it or not, i was shooting a wedding last night and we were doing the photoshoot, and we go to the standard places in the city and what not.. and there was this dude shooting another wedding.. .. no lie.. carrying around a DSR300 with an anton bower Battery kit and he was straingin like there was no tomorrow....
My clients were actually laughing at him... they turned to me and said that if i was to be using a camera like that they wouldnt not have even hired me..

For weddings discretion is Paramount.. Larger cams are ok if u want the look... but i prefer good things in smal packages.. :)
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Old April 4th, 2005, 10:30 AM   #6
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One More Thing

I was embarrassed to say this on my first post but since everybody is in a good frame of mind, the first wedding I shot with the XL1s literally - and I mean literally - gave me a freaking backache like you would not believe!

I thought I kept myself in reasonably good shape.
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Old April 6th, 2005, 10:01 PM   #7
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well i regularly see knobhead mates of mine shooting weddings with a DSR300... god knows why they bother using one of these cameras and busting their backs for afew bux.. I got many a mate who use these form factored units and they are having issues with their health.

they seem to think that people want to see this at a wedding or at a family picnic??? Yeah it looks professional.. when news gathering or doing corporate work... but for weddings i think its overkill and totally unnecessary. its an advantage sometimes, but there are other ways of doing things and gettin comparable results.
Each unit has its use i guess.. and teh way the Wedding Industry looks down at "the video guy" and how hes always "in your face" needs to change.. I kid you not, i was out shooting with 2 DVX's and we went to a photo shoot location and there was a guy shooting with a Shoulder mounted unit. I didnt see what it was, but they turned to me and said that if i was to have used a large camera like that, they would not have hired me...

If we change the way we do our work, then maybe peoples bad experiences will wash away with good ones..

i dont know anymore.. these days i wonder what is going through some peoples minds.
I mean what is it your trying to do?

-edit..
I chose to edit this to clarify my comments so theres no confusion
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Old April 6th, 2005, 10:28 PM   #8
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Well, folks, in defense of the big cameras, while I don't schlep mine around, it is great on a tripod for the long-form weddings and receptions where to change tape means lost footage.

Truth is a DSR-300 with a Sony LiON battery is better balanced on the body than my PD 150's and my back likes it better.

Furthermore, although the 150 is more sensitive than the 300, the 300 still has a better image quality and you can do more things with it and easier than with the loaf of bread cameras. And pro camera handles faster than the LOB cameras with their servo-operated lens. The sound is much better too.

There is a place for all the cameras or they wouldn't be produced.
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Old April 7th, 2005, 01:02 AM   #9
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Well said Mike, you make some good points.
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Old April 7th, 2005, 05:24 AM   #10
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Thanks for yoru email Mikke, i have responded in kind.

with regard to the larger cameras, dont get me wrong with what ive written, but if you have read afew of the other threads here you would have know that i had a DSR570 which i got rid of for a number of reasons.
I regret it of course.. but my list of pros and cons were just too unbalanced for what i do with my own business.

The biggest loss i find at this point in time in gettin rid of the DSR is the Dymanic range, low light performance, awesome CCD, my gorgeous Fujinon lens.. damn i miss that glass.. and alot of other features which the Z1's dont have. I also got rid of these recently for other reasons..
Im just waiting on the JVC HDV unit, which IMO is a good cross between the 2 form factors..
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Old April 7th, 2005, 09:31 AM   #11
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It depends on what you'll use the cam for. Maybe (maybe! because I haven't played with one of the cams you are doubting to buy) for narrative filmwork a DVX is better and for documentary/weddings/... the Sony is better.
But maybe, if you have the possibility, you could test them both somewhere?
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Old April 7th, 2005, 01:37 PM   #12
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Interesting today in that I used my DSR-300 in a class I help teach for actors that want to do film and television. Over the semester, I use a PD150 which is great for the quick and dirty work we need to do with 20+ students.

Today we started finals which is where 2 or 3 students select a scene from a movie and we recreate it. For this I usually use the DSR-300 because it just is better for set-piece work like this.

When we set up everything and fed the class monitors (so they can see what happens on-camera) there was a collective appreciation of the visibly better picture. (and these are not video people, they are budding actors). One forgets, as Peter pointed out, the better dynamic range and the richer colors and increased detail that one gets from the bigger cameras. Not to mention the better lens control. The soft-start zoom alone is priceless.
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Old April 8th, 2005, 11:35 AM   #13
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"The soft-start zoom alone is priceless"
oh god how i miss my fujinon.. :(

aaaahhh cant wait for the new JVC... :) but yeah the dynamic range in itself is worth the added value of these larger units.. for corp and educational, these ENG units are pretty much essential to offer a true representation of what its like out in teh broadcast world. Even a DVX100 with its Cinegamma priority set to ynamic range comes close, but its really no cigar compared to teh larger cams..
but (theres always a but) lol
for run and gun jobs, these smaller units just cannot be beaten... there have been so many instances where i have been grateful of my decision to stick with the smaller cameras that i have literally lost count..
but i do miss my lil 570... so much...
*padre logs off and looks for a shoulder to cry on.. lol *
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Old April 9th, 2005, 09:08 AM   #14
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Brief subject change...

Hugh said "the first wedding I shot with the XL1s literally - and I mean literally - gave me a freaking backache like you would not believe!"

Unfortunately, I think this can happen with any camera. I've used nothing but hand-helds including the lightweigt GL2 and now the heavier PD-170. After 2 or 3 hours, back pain becomes almost unbearable, at least for me.

The cure for me was a monopod. I could'nt be in business without one.
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